I’m adjusting to the Alkyd Fast drying oil colours. The changeover from standard oils was gradual with a phase where I was using Alkyd as an under layer and finishing the painting in standard oils.
Now its Alkyd only. At one point I thought they were only useful as an under layer as the luminosity of the lighter coloured mixes were not as intense as standard oils. This painting and the next (just completed) are exercises in vivid colour, contrast, glowing highlights, and rich shadows.
My initial thoughts about lack of strength in the colours was probably due to the fast drying. By the time the painting was finished in about 2 hours the paint was already beginning to dry and the usual dulling of the colours was already happening. I’ve ‘oiled out’ the recent paintings and wow they’re sparkling.
Here is the painting video. See you soon.
It started beautiful, a mild and sunny Spring day. By late afternoon the clouds were gathering and a darkness spread across the landscape. The first clap of thunder was unexpected as we did not notice the flash. The startled birds had taken to flight by the time the second flash lit the darkening sky, followed by an earth shaking rumble of thunder.
I am reluctant to paint spectacular natural phenomena. Whether its a sunset or cloud formation, or a grossly unusual gnarled tree. If they are faithfully depicted the integrity of the image is suspect. After all, an artist can imagine any scene and the resultant image may be a figment of his/her imagination.
This scene is from the imagination. I tried to create a natural landscape as it was in this split second of the lightning strike. Not spectacular, just natural beauty. Hopefully, in its normality it will be accepted and invite the spectator to explore.
The shape of the lightning reminded me of an inverted tree. So the scene was created based on the similarity between these two very different natural forms. The world was divided down the middle. Heavenly lit on one side, contrasting with the chaotic, gritty natural world.
As usual I’ll post the video of the painting process in a few days. See you then.
The video shows how easy it is to paint onto a wet layer of paint without too much mixing with the base layer. A problem when shadow colours are needed on a layer containing white.
The fast drying paint (Alkyd) I’m using at the moment is working great and the range of painting types that can be completed in alla prima has greatly expanded. I’m actually looking for subjects to stretch the capabilities of this medium.
In the meantime here is the video of the painting process for this painting. I will be posting a completely different painting type tomorrow. See you then.
Last Autumn I painted a few similar paintings to this. The difficulty was placing the leaves onto the wet paint of the sky. Wet on wet has a particular look, created simply by the process. Its very difficult to get sharp details, either fine lines of branches or the sharp points of paint to represent foliage when the canvas has a layer of wet paint. My workaround was to use a very thin wash of sky colour in White Spirits. This I then evaporated with a hair dryer. The resultant background sky was OK to paint on but looked like what it was – a thin anaemic layer. The paintings worked because I covered most of the sky colour with foliage (an example here).
The medium of the above painting is Alkyd fast drying oil paint. A rich layer of sky was painted and within a half hour the foliage and leaves were painted in sharp details onto this wet paint. The sky colour was not completely dry but dry enough. A definite plus for my alla prima method.
As I was progressing through the painting, from time to time I’d add a layer of shadow colour, these getting richer with every layer. All will be seen in the video which I will post in a day or two. See you then.
I’m spending more time painting and so you will have to excuse the blog posts lagging behind a little. At this stage I’ve completed another landscape, again stretching the medium’s capability in various ways.
As you are probably aware, I’m experimenting with Alkyd fast drying oil paint. There is a limitation which I’m investigating at the moment. Some of the colours, example Cadmium Yellow, are not available as the true colour, but as Cadmium Yellow Hue instead of Cadmium Yellow. The ‘Hue’ version is probably OK, but why not the real deal? I’ve tried using Windsor Yellow as an Alkyd replacement for Cadmium Yellow. It doesn’t have the tinting power so I’m using standard oil colour Cadmium Yellow (the mediums are compatible, if a few rules are adhered to). I would like to use all Alkyd colours and see how I get on. In the next painting I’ve used only one standard oil colour and its, guess what, Cadmium Yellow. I will acquire a tube of the Alkyd ‘Hue’ and if its OK in terms of permanence, tinting power, mix-ability with other colours etc., I’ll use it.
Here is the video of this painting and I promise to post the next painting tomorrow. See you then.
This April, like last year, we had snow. Just a few wisps here on the flatlands of Kildare but plenty fell to the east on the mountains of Wicklow. After a very mild winter there was a premature spurt of growth which following this extremely cold spell has turned autumnal in colour. The glistening snowy peak of Lugnaquilla is an unusual backdrop to the lush green growth interspersed with the remains of this early foliage. Here is a painting from April 2012. That winter lasted long after April with frost in early June.
Reading my older posts, written before I started experimenting with fast drying oils, makes me want to stay on this course. The problem I’ve always had with alla prima is the ‘slushy’ look of wet on wet. For some subjects this is fine but its limiting. I like to be able to control the various stages of progress and being able to paint on a dry layer, when required, is a great help.
I’ll post the painting video in a few days. See you then.
I was determined to paint a ‘grey only’ sky and leave it a series of grey shades. Quite by accident in the last few minutes I saw a break in the clouds and had to develop this. Another advantage of Alkyd fast drying oil paint, the white was added for the shafts of light and these were brushed until the right tones were achieved. With standard oils this track of white paint would have lifted the colour underneath and the effect of transparency would not be there.
Alkyds take a little getting used to and at this stage I am still using standard oils to finish the painting. Vigourous brushing with the oils will lift some of the Alkyd colour so there is a certain amount of mixing. I think if a little Liquin were added to the under layers this mixing would be increased. As it is, I’m using only White Spirits.
I have reduced the number of brushes I’m using, even so, if a brush is not to be used for a few minutes I’m keeping the tips of the bristles submerged in a shallow tray of White Spirits. The paints really are quick drying. Recently while washing the brushes I could feel the gritty dried paint. I reverted back to the White Spirits stage of cleaning to remove these and this worked. I’m conscious that one slip-up and I could loose a brush.
Here is the video of the process. See you soon.
The cause of the Irish famine of 1845-1852 is still a hotly debated issue. In Gaelic it is called ‘an Gorta Mór’, translated as the Great Hunger. Its also referred to as the Irish Potato Famine because the failure of the potato crop in 1945 due to a new strain of blight, precipitated this calamity. As usual its not as simple as this.
This disease of the potato plant originated in Mexico, spread to the USA in the early 1840′s and then on to Europe. In all areas the crop was wiped out and although it caused hardship it did not cause famine anywhere except in Ireland. 1 million people starved to death and one million emigrated. At that time Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland – near enough to be conquered by Britain but too far away to be governed properly. A example of catastrophic mismanagement. As thousands of tons of livestock and grain were exported from the country, the population starved.
Its not that the government were unaware of the impending disaster. One historian calculated that between 1801 and 1845, there had been 114 commissions and 61 special committees enquiring into the state of Ireland and that “without exception their findings prophesied disaster” (The great hunger, p. 31, Cecil Woodham-Smith, 1991). In fact the whole world was aware of this state of affairs as seen in 1847 when a group of Native American Choctaws organised a collection to send to Ireland to help relieve the famine. These people had recently experienced their ‘Trail of Tears‘ and understood starvation.
So the scene above is of one of many such abandoned cottages of that time. Its common for descendants of the lucky ones who were able to emigrate to return to find the exact cottage from where their family originated.
This is another example of my experiments with Alkyd fast drying oil colours. I’m enjoying the flexibility afforded by these paints. In a way its like painting over several weeks of painting sessions, each layer drying, compressed into 2 hours.
As usual I will post the video in a few days. See you then.
Just a quick post to connect you to the YouTube video of the painting here.
I’m getting the hang of the Alkyd colours at last. It wasn’t much of a bother for me as I was doing much of the stuff that is recommended by the manufacturers anyway.
- Painting within a 4 hour period as Alkyd colours begin to loose their workability then.
- Keeping brushes in constant use, or cleaning continually as I work as the paint is difficult to remove even in the initial stages of drying.
- Using thin washes as a base layer to be painted over by standard oils.
- Not keeping paint on the palette for use in the next painting session.
- Removing completely every trace of paint from the palette and the brushes at the end of every painting session.
If you are not in the habit of working like this, Alkyd colours would be a nightmare.
Here is the video of the 2 stage, Alkyd and standard oil paint, painting session.
A range of hills to the west of where I live, the Sliabh Blooms are the eroded remains of a mountain range formed about 400 million years ago. This makes them one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe. Before the Great Famine (1845-52) this was a very populated area. The population never recovered after this calamity. Now its a favourite place for hill walkers who like a little bit of solitude.
In this painting experiment I placed an under layer of Alkyd colour which was lightened in tone by the addition of Titanium White. This was, in a way, similar to the Watercolour technique of laying down light coloured washes to be over painted in the darker transparent colours of the later stages. From the beginning it was not going to work. Alkyd colours from the tube are more transparent and vivid than traditional oils. With the addition of white this transparency is completely lost and the resultant colour mix has a ‘milky’ look. Furthermore, the chroma of the original is also lost. If either transparency or chroma survived the mix with white, this might have worked. Without either, it doesn’t.
When the solvent evaporated the colours were set enough to overpaint in standard oils, and this allowed me to proceed with the painting. The quick dried Alkyd did help as I was able to place a very thin layer of oils not completely covering the Alkyd. This was important as I was planning to overpaint some very thin lines of trees, silhouetted against the bright light in the distance. This I was able to do without having to scrape a series of fine lines in the light coloured paint and painting into them which I would usually have to do with standard oils. This is of course if the painting is to be completed in a single session.
I’ll post the video of the process in a few days. See you then.